Follow The Conversation From Forrester's IT Forum 2011

Today we’re kicking off Forrester’s IT Forum 2011 at The Palazzo in Las Vegas. Prepare for three exciting days of keynote presentations and track sessions focused on business and technology alignment. Use the Twitter widget below to follow the Forum conversation by tracking our event hashtag #ITF11 on Twitter. Attendees are encouraged to tweet throughout the Forum and to tweet any questions for our keynote presenters using the #ITF11 hashtag.

"Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch"

A couple of weeks ago I saw an amazing presentation by the CIO of Caterpillar, who keynoted at IBM’s Impact event. His presentation was riveting because you could see glimpses into the company’s manufacturing-focused, earth moving/engineering, “git ’er done” culture.

He also talked about business and IT transformation, and the depth of Caterpillar’s partnership with IBM. When he finished, I thought, wow, customers like that are worth their weight in gold.

But the most striking thing I heard is that one Caterpillar exec has a framed copy of this sign in his office: Culture Eats Strategy For Lunch.

Wow! This truism grabbed my attention because Claire Schooley and I have just completed a signature research report on business change management, titled “Effective Business Change Management Requires More Than A Wait-And-See Attitude,” to be published next month. We will also present this topic at Forrester’s IT Forum 2011. The full title of our presentation is “Cut Through The BS To Tackle Change Management For Customer-Centric BPM,” and we are currently planning a business change management keynote panel for Forrester’s Business Process Forum 2011 in Boston on September 22 and 23. I guess this means we are really taking business change management seriously!

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An Interview With A Business Process Executive: Jeff Stone From Cabela's

Have you ever heard a business process professional pose these questions?

“How are other organizations managing their BPM efforts?"

"How are their teams structured?"

"Are we like other companies?”

We often hear these types of questions from business process executives who are involved in Forrester’s Business Process Council. To help shed light on how other companies approach BPM, we recently interviewed Business Process Council member Jeff Stone from Cabela’s and asked him to share the story of its BPM program — why it was started, his biggest challenges, and biggest successes.

1. Where are you right now in your BPM journey?

[Jeff Stone] Today we are beginning our BPM journey, but we have already put significant infrastructure in place to support our vision.

2. Is your BPM initiative being driven by a senior executive, from the grassroots, or both?

[Jeff Stone] Our BPM initiative is driven by our Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement Team, which ultimately reports to our COO. We also get strong support from our EA team.

3. What was the catalyst/driver for the creation of your BPM CoE?

[Jeff Stone] Because in our mind BPM is a culture, not just a framework or a system, we felt assembling a cross-functional CoE would provide the best chance of success. This is the reason we combined technical, business, process improvement, and change management expertise in the CoE.

4. How did/do you evangelize the need for a BPM initiative and/or the related change management activities surrounding it?

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Tackle The Most Common BPM Challenges

Throughout 2010, I talked with a number of business process executives that are members of Forrester’s Business Process Leadership Board(BP FLB).  These leaders all drive large BPM initiatives in the US and Europe, focused on continuous improvement and business transformation.  I usually begin those conversations with a question:  what’s your biggest problem with business process management (BPM) in your organization? Invariably I get a list of the big issues keeping BPM from progressing within the organization, and interestingly, the list of challenges remains the same across industry sectors and geographic regions:

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We Need YOU!--Vote For Forrester's IT Forum 2011 Theme

Are you ready for Forrester's IT Forum 2011? Mark your calendars for May 25-27 in Las Vegas and June 8-10 in Barcelona and in the spirit of —empowerment and Web 2.0 — help us design an event that is as relevant and productive for you as possible. We've come up with three potential draft themes, and now we need your vote for the best IT Forum 2011 theme:

1. Unleash your empowered enterprise.

As more business technology (BT) decisions get driven by forces beyond IT alone, as business optimization and transformation come to the forefront of management's attention, and as the consumerization of IT encroaches upon business use, business process professionals find themselves in the hot seat at the intersection of IT and the business. This leaves business process pros with but one choice: get proactive by empowering employees with new business process, social and information tools, or swim against the tide of unauthorized technology coming into the organization haphazardly. Successful BT leaders will react not by blocking access but by lending their considerable expertise to increase the chances of technology success and empowering business people to solve customer and business problems. This year's IT Forum will provide a blueprint for reaping the benefits of your empowered organization — complete with case studies, methodologies, and step-by-step advice tailored to each IT role.

2. Capitalize on the intersection of business and technology.

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Business Process Professionals: A Newly Emerging Career Field In Search Of Skills Development

I've been thinking a lot recently about business process skills development because it's such a big need in organizations that are moving to BPM initiatives. I’m also presenting on this topic at Forrester’s upcoming Business Process And Application Development Forum in Washington DC, October 7-8. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue; your feedback will help me develop a better presentation.  (If you haven’t registered already, call our Events Team at +1 617.613.5905. We’d love to see you there!)

With the growing acceptance of business process management (BPM) methodologies for continuously improving business processes (Lean, Six Sigma, and TQM) and the mainstream adoption of technologies like BPM suites, business process modeling, and business rules, a new career field has emerged with significant impact and potential for both IT and the business. In fact, people in this career field live at the intersection of business and IT. In large part, they are business people who use management disciplines and business process technology to drive continuous improvement, process innovation, business optimization, and even business transformation in their organizations. At Forrester, we call these individuals “business process professionals”.

Based on in-depth interviews conducted last year, we grouped business process professionals into five categories or cohorts:

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Business Process Pros Hold the Key To Business Transformation (2)

In this podcast, Connie talks about the role of the process pro in Business Technology transformations.

Business Process Pros Hold The Key To Business Transformation (2).


BPM: From Rags to Riches

I recently experienced a real world story that is so reminiscent of the BPM journey from rags to riches that I'm going to start many a BPM stump speech with it. I didn't realize it was so apropos until a friend and colleague, Steve Bullinger, told me that the lunchtime story I shared for grins at an IBM advisory session would be a great way to kick off a keynote. After talking with Clay Richardson today, I realized it would make a pretty interesting blog post too.

So, here goes. True story (and I promise it will relate to BPM):

My 12 year old son, Alexander recently wrote a thriller of a book called The Curse Of The Cottonmouth.  It's a humdinger and in it, one of the characters is a cat named Tabitha. Here's Alexander's rendition of Tabitha:



Even more recently, Alexander and I visited North Carolina to see Grandmother. My husband drove down separately. As I was returning home, Alexander and I dropped by my sister's grooming shop and animal rescue operation. I briefly mentioned to her that Alexander dreamed of owning a cat like Tabitha, despite the fact that we already have two cats and a super high energy Dalmatian.

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Here’s A Warm Welcome To An Old Friend

I am thrilled to announce that Derek Miers has joined Forrester Research.  If you don’t know Derek, then you are really missing something because he is a giant in the business process management world and is a thinking person’s thinker.  In fact, I have known Derek for many years (16 years to be exact) and Derek has always been my personal BPM guru.  Whenever I was thinking through a thorny issue or complex problem, I’d call Derek to get his advice.  You see, Derek has been an independent consultant for many years and has collaborated with me on many conferences and articles so we’ve developed a great working relationship over the years. I know he’ll bring a ton of value to all of you too in this new role at Forrester.

So here’s the news: starting February 8th, Derek Miers will join us as a Principal Analyst focusing on the methods, techniques and technologies of Business Process Management (BPM) and business process improvement--with a strong focus on customer facing processes. Derek will be based in London but will have a focus on both Europe and North America, as well as other regions too. Derek is a true internationalist—he hails from New Zealand but has lived for many years in the UK, and most recently France.

In case you don’t know Derek, you may be wondering, who is this mysterious guy I’m singing accolades about? Derek has a deep process background to call upon. For the past few years, he served as President and CEO of BPM Focus, a company providing BPM training and consulting services. Before that, in the early 1990s, he founded Enix Consulting, another process-oriented advisory business.  Derek was co-chair of the (steering the merger with OMG) and also co-authored BPMN Modeling and Reference Guide, Understanding and Using BPMN, a landmark book in the BPM modeling space.

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But Who Need An Avatar, Anyway?

James Cameron's blockbuster hit Avatar viscerally depicts the power of an avatar in a way that software geeks couldn't begin to communicate or illustrate in code. Nothing in Second Life, The Sims or other virtual worlds comes close to the movie for illustrating the power of an avatar to insert a person into another environment or "world." In fact, if you haven't seen the movie, I can say that it's hard to leave the cinema without wishing — darn it — why can't we really do that??? (Sort of like, "beam me up Scottie," why can't we do that too???) [If you are like me, I wonder . . . when will we be able to do that because surely sometime in the future we'll be able to. But, I digress.]

Last week some of my colleagues and I had a completely different experience that leaves me thinking that avatars aren't really the future. Instead, literally being there — yourself — in a virtual fashion is a more human and natural way of interacting than using an avatar to represent yourself. What am I talking about? It's telepresence — the high resolution, life-size video conferencing tool that, in this situation, was provided by Cisco.

Here's what happened. Last year we decided to bring our Business Technology Forum not only to the real world in Chicago but also to the virtual world over telepresence. Last Friday, Mike Gilpin, Clay Richardson, Ted Schadler and I got to deliver that virtual event by spending 3 hours interacting with 14 clients in 7 cities using telepresence. The cities were: Atlanta, Boston, Herndon VA, Irving, New York, San Jose, and Washington, D.C. In addition, we had one company that dialed in from its own telepresence facility.

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